Yesterday was a special day. At the University of New Hampshire campus, there was a free concert. UNH concert choir and symphony orchestra presented Beethoven's Missa Solemnis to a full and enthusiastic theater. There were students who walked in with PJs from their dorm rooms, parents, relatives, friends of performers and professors, neighbors, the young and the old filling the entire theater (and even some who remained standing the entire concert).

As we sat silently and the music began, I soon found out that I had to close me eyes. The orchestra was at the stage and the large choir was placed in the right and left balconies. The effect was a feeling of being surrounded by music: sharp, moving, strong, soft, enticing, inspiring with unimaginable melodies. Layer after layer after layer of composition. I am not a big classic music enthusiast nor am I very knowledgeable about it, but I just sensed that I had to close my eyes to feel this music, not even listen to it, just feel it.

The person who put this endeavor together, the director of choir and conductor William Kempster, wrote in the information brochure that Beethoven was almost completely deaf when he start to write this piece. Sitting there I tried to imagine how. How did he hear this music in his mind's eye? This moving, evolving, changing flow of chaotic order? This thing that you can't completely say you love, but you can't take your senses off of it because it is just so mesmerizing. This music that I could have sworn it moves. And I could sense that it almost holds all emotions at once in each single moment.

At the end of it I couldn't remember a single melody. The piece was so complex and so interwoven that nothing stuck but a sense of having experienced something extraordinary, and being very very grateful for it.

William K. also wrote that in his lifetime Beethoven saw his deafness as a weakness for his art and he was somewhat ashamed of it. However it is almost without question that Beethoven's deafness gave him a unique internal perspective, and Beethoven often referenced Missa Solemnis as his greatest achievement. He was probably right. By tuning in, he created one of the most difficult to perform and understand pieces, and one that is a masterpiece.

So next time when you feel yourself down, inadequate, not seeing the light, what will you create in your mind's eye?



Rita Yoga said…
Thanks, Love for this story. I believe that music is a wonderful gateway into our deeper senses as we are not just hearing it but - just like you said - we are FEELING it. The reason I think is that sound, and mainly well-constructed sound = music is vibrating energy. Something that you can soak up through your skin, you can listen to and just letting your own body's and mind's vibrations connect with it. I hope that even when Beethowen was already deaf, he could still sense this beautiful connection with the music he so brilliantly created.

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